News | Anorak - Part 17

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Dear Coleen: Wayne Rooney tips and where you can find Laura Simpson

laura simpson


Everton’s former Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney only had a “kiss and a cuddle” with Laura Simpson, 29, whose car he was driving when police nicked him for drink driving. All the tabloids wonder what this means for his marriage to Coleen Rooney. The Mirror says she’s fearful for the couple’s three children, “worried about playground taunts” because kids can be cruel.

Coleen, we learn, is also worried about media intrusion. Which is presumably why she, as the Sun reports, uploaded photos of her boys on Instagram and wrote: “No matter where I am they always follow me, and I hope that last forever.” No, not a coded message to the paparazzi, marketeers and celebrity magazines. That was a “heavy hint that she would keep the kids with her if Wayne and she split”.


laura simpson


By now you’re itching to know more about pneumatic Laura Simpson, who “boasts” (Mirror) of having 32E breasts, which Wayne “ogled”, hair extensions, false eyelashes, Botox and lip enhancers. Unlike Wayne, she does not smoke and have a spouse, but she does have a child.

The Sun then pinpoints the single mother struggling to make a living, helping anyone who wants to bounce into and off of Laura find her. We learn that she works at a lettings agency (wages: £38,000 a year); once went on two trips to Dubai in one month; is “cash-strapped”; and lives in a “terraced house in Irlam, Greater Manchester”. If you can’t find her there, maybe you can reach her on the sugar daddy website, where the Sun says she functions under the name “Lolaura”.


laura simpson


As journalists and pornographers stampede to Laura’s door, the kindness of strangers kicks in. In “Dear Coleen”, Coleen Nolan, writes an open letter to her namesake. “Oh love, my heart ached for you yesterday,” says Coleen, to say nothing of her mouth and she dictated 300 words of to-deadline advice. “Back from holiday, piles of washing to sort, school uniforms to get ready,” says Nolan, proving she has the inside track on the life of a woman who counts her millions by the dozen. “Whenever anyone askw me for advice,” says Nolan, “my first tip is…” Call my agent? “…never, ever, make life-changing decisions when emotions are high.” Coleen’s life is far from over because as Nolan reminds her, she too has been cheated on by a wayward and well-known husband, and had her private life scrutinised in the national press. She moved on, forging a new life as the Woman Whose Famous Husband Cheated On Her And Had Her Life Scrutinised In The Press in the Mirror and on TV’s Loose Women. Hang in there, Coleen. There’s a multifaceted career in this, maybe.

More advice for Coleen in the Mail, where Bel Mooney has “inimitable advice” for the Rooney. “Dear Coleen,” begins the heartfelt advice once more, it being a well-established fact that Coleen is a dear and likes to surround herself with dear things, some very dear, some very, very dear. “Bloody men, eh,” says Bel. “At it again!” As with Nolan, Mooney presents herself as Coleen’s kindred spirit. Coleen was born in Liverpool and so too was Mooney. Wayne was boozing with Laura in Alderley Edge’s Bubble Room.”My best friend lives in Alderly Edge,” says Money, “and I’ve been to  those upmarket joints, Piccolino’s and  the Bubble Room”.

“Good luck, Bel,” says Mooney, which sounds a bit like Rooney, and a bit self-obsessed.

Good luck, Coleen!


Gina McCarrick

Picture 1 of 4

In a Sunday Mirror exclusive, 37-year-old brunette Gina McCarrick, dressed in her favoured cowgirl outfit, said: 'Wayne didn't turn me on at all. He was ugly. He had a face like a smacked arse.' Rooney later confessed to having visted the den around 10 times.

Posted: 4th, September 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Malta equal Spurs striker Harry Kane’s haul of Cup Finals

“Any time we play a team like Malta,” says Spurs and England striker Harry Kane, “it’s their Cup Final. They’re going to want to win, going to want to surprise the world.”

Number of Cup Finals Kane has been in: one – the League Cup final. And in that his Tottenham Hotspur side lost to Chelsea.

And this is the same Harry Kane who played the full 90 minutes when plucky England lost 2-1 to mighty Iceland at the European Championships in June 2016.

England losing to Malta would not surprise the world. It would surprise only Harry Kane – who given his record in Cup Finals, suggests that the Spurs star is a man as lacking in humility as he is in winner’s medals.


england iceland harry kane


In case Harry Kane is still grandstanding, these are highlights from the Guardian’s live blog from when England treated Iceland – the smallest nation ever to grace a major tournament – to a Cup Final:

66 mins: “England win a free-kick from about 30 yards and Harry Kane’s effort is appalling.”

83 mins: “Now it’s Harry Kane’s turn to miscontrol a simple pass and gift possession to Iceland.”

87 mins: “Harry Kane takes it and sends the ball soaring over the penalty area and straight out of play. That is absolutely pathetic.”


england iceland malta


Good luck in all those Cup Finals, Harry!

Posted: 3rd, September 2017 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Liverpool wanted £183m for crying Coutinho

Nobody from Sky News stood in the Anfield car park to herald Philippe Coutinho’s move from Liverpool to Barcelona. The Sun said the deal was done. But until a man wearing a Sky Sports pin, possibly with a large blue sex toy propositioning their earhole, tells us the move is done and dusted, we’re reaming circumspect. Coutinho stayed. And, if reports are to be believed, sobbed that the chance to play for Spain’s second or third best team passed him by.


Philippe Coutinho liverpool the sun


Panicky Barcelona had offered Liverpool the lunatic sum of £138 for the Brazilian. Swollen by the cash earned from Neymar’s sale to the PSG, Barcelona spotted another small Brazilian and thought if they slap him in the club’s colours fans wouldn’t notice. But Liverpool were having none of it. And now we know that the Reds wanted – get this – £183m for this their best player.

A source on the Barcelona board says Liverpool valued Coutinho at €200m (£183m). Liverpool say they placed no price tag on the player. He wasn’t for sale, so why mention a fee, says the Premier League club? So is Albert Soler, Barcelona’s club’s director of professional sports wrong when he said: “Late last night, Liverpool priced the player we wanted at €200m, and we decided we would not do it.”

Meanwhile, in a wind-batted car park, Sky’s reporter on the frontline wonders if Abu Dhabi or Qatar can buy out his contract…

Posted: 3rd, September 2017 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chile star says story of Sanchez to Manchester City is total balls

What really happened with Alexis Sanchez’s aborted move to Manchester City? The papers are unsure. The Sun says Arsenal called Manchester City to “flog” their star player for £60m. Arsenal then called Monaco to buy Thomas Lemar for that £60m plus another £32m. But Lemar “snubbed” the Gunners. So the whole deal was off because Arsenal only said they would sell Sanchez if Lemar agreed to join them.

The odd bit is that Manchester City – who only made their first offer for Sanchez as late as last Tuesday – apparently told Sanchez it was a done deal. He told his Chile team-mates, who – get this – “gave him a round of applause” (Sun). The other less odd bit is that Arsenal maintained they would not sell Sanchez – and they didn’t.

The result is that Sanchez is “disappointed” (Mail) and “furious” (Sun). But the player has made no comment. The fury comes from unnamed sources, who add that Sanchez could now go on strike (Express). He could also decide to knuckle down and play brilliantly, perhaps even signing a new deal at Arsenal and so earning £300,000 week, up from his current £140,000 a week.

The papers are guessing. But one man is willing to go on the record. Bayern Munich and Chile’s Arturo Vidal says Sanchez never did get that round of applause. He says Sanchez was focused on Chile’s game against Paraguay and never mentioned joining Man City. “To whom? No, no, to nobody. Not to me. I don’t think so,” said Vial when asked abut Sanchez. “I think it was all made up because he was very focused on today’s game.”

What price that anonymous source was already counting 10% of £60m until Arsenal stuck to their guns..?

Posted: 1st, September 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Local News watch: Oldham Evening Chronicle shuts for good



Farewell, the Oldham Evening Chronicle (founded in 1854). The paper has closed after 163 years reporting on the borough. It’s a bitter blow for the staff and those on the Chronicle’s four monthly stablemates – the Oldham Extra, Saddleworth Extra, Tameside Extra and the Dale Times.

In June the Chronicle had a circulation of 6,408. One was bought  by John Gilder, who had worked with the paper since 1981. He tells the BBC: “It will be sadly missed. It generates a lot of chat among local people. Before I found out, I popped into the shop and bought a copy without knowing it was the last one. I like reading a physical newspaper but very sadly it’s no more.”


Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Princess Diana: 20 years of emotion over conviction

Where were you 20 years ago when Dodi Fayed died in a car crash whilst on holiday with Princess Diana, a divorced mum-of-two?

The marking of the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death is a therapeutic process. Just as she was presented as the vulnerable woman abused by the country’s old values as she opened up her heart and talked about her issues on the telly, we too are now in need. The Mirror, one day on from its exclusive with Diana Inc.’s Paul Burrell, leads with: “Harry: all of us lost somebody.”

Diana, a totem for all our pain and woes, in whose aftermath emotionalism replaced resolve and conviction, is the saviour of us and them. “True disbelief, then the grief hit us hard,” says Fiona Philips. “Popularity of the monarchy is down to her,” says Brian Reade. In the rush to emote, the Daily Star puts the following words into the mouths of Diana’s sons: “We wish she was here say Harry & Wills as they visit Diana memorial garden.”

She can’t be in her own memorial garden for reasons all too obvious. But we can feel her, right? Because in the age of uncertainty, feeling is everything.

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal agree Sanchez to Manchester City deal to get Monaco’s Thomas Lemar

Manchester City can have Alexis Sanchez for £60m. Arsenal have agreed to sell the Chilean star who shone in Arsene Wenger’s mediocre side to Pep Guardiola’s project.

The deal – £55million up front and £5million in add-ons (if City win the Premier League; if Sanchez wins the Balloon d’Or; if Sergio Aguero doesn’t sulk) – will allow Arsenal to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar for – get this – £90m.


The Times says it is “understood that Monaco have accepted Arsenal’s club-record bid”.

Of course, not everyone agrees that Lemar will go to the Gunners. No deal is done until the player kisses the badge and books an appointment at a local hairdresser.

The Metro says Lemar wants to join Liverpool. Although their report contains not a single word from anyone saying that he does.



Let’s see what happens…

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal FC is declared dead and only the parasites remain

Arsenal are dead. So says the Sun, which links the club’s pulse to Alexis Sanchez’s whims, declaring that when the Chilean quits the club today – it is “inevitable he will, says the paper’s Neil Ashton – he’ll be leaving behind a corpse where there was once a club.

Sanchez would also be leaving the leeches, footballers whose presence at Arsenal is more parasitic than proud. Granti Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Perez and Calum Chambers are rubbish on the “Arsenal scrapheap”.


the sun arsenal


But might it be that the Sun’s trash talk is a little late? It was last March 8 when the Sun’s Ashton told readers:

Arsenal Football Club, Rest In Peace. This institution, one of the most famous clubs in the world, is dead and buried. Here at the Emirates, the heart finally stopped beating.

Can you die twice? And can a thriving football club with millions in the bank die once? Because having watched Arsenal breathe its last in March, on June 1, the same Neil Ashton wrote:

Arsenal, no matter how many times they win the FA Cup, are only ever one defeat away from another meltdown among their fans..


To wit the obvious question: is Neil Ashton a Gooner?

Posted: 31st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Diana and Me: Paul Burrell’s Paris pilgrimage and the day he died

Just in case you hadn’t heard, it’s 20 years since the death of Princess Diana. The Diana Industry is in full cry. In today’s instalment, former royal servant Paul Burrell is seen eying the site of the car cash that killed his boss in Paris and sharing his “troubling questions” over her death.

Paul’s thoughts are front-page news in the Mirror. And on pages 4 and 5 you get a lot more of them. Burrell, who has made a career from being Diana’s “Rock”, says, “My heart tells me it was a terrible accident.” To say nothing of the countless books, coroner’s reports, police inquiry, TV specials and a million to-deadline opinions about the car crash.

Paul then takes time out to gives us a city tour. He says he “never realised how close the Eiffel Tower was” to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, where Diana died, an underpass he “never realised” was so small. “Now I realise it [the Tower] must have been the last thing she saw before the crash,” says Paul.

Having realised much and shared her last view, Burrell then shares Diana’s demise, albeit mentally. “I dreamt last night I would crash and die in the exact same place,” says Burrell. Not all dreams come true. And Paul is alive to place a “touching” card on the bridge. It says – and it’s all written in easy-to-read capital letters:




Always nice when a staff member enjoys their work, but Paul seems a tad besotted with Diana. He says it took a few hours before he realised “she had left me”. In the hospital where she died, coppers showed him the room where Diana is lying, her hair washed, her body carrying the scent of formaldehyde – “I can still smell it, like I still smell her perfume, Hermes 24 Faubourg.” The Mirror plays along, saying Burrell was “the first person to see her body” (if  so, who washed her hair and declared her dead?). He says he entered the room to “stare death in the face”. Lest you think facing the Grim Reaper something you do when faced with your own mortality, Burrell opines: “I’d lost my reason for being.”

But he found a new one, and whether it be talking about Diana in the tabloids, writing about Diana in your book, eating ‘roo gonads on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. judging would-be Dianas on Australian Princess, working out anagrams of ‘CROK’ on Countdown, singing on Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, or shopping on Celebrity Big Brother, Burrell’s soldiered on.

Posted: 30th, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Fostering fear and division in Tower Hamlets: the Christian child and her Muslim carers

foster muslim london


The Times‘ scoop became a big talking point: a five-year-old, white, native English specking Christian girl had been placed with a Muslim foster family by London’s Tower Hamlet’s council. What problem with that? If the vulnerable child needed help and help was forthcoming, what matter respective religions? The council surely vets foster parents and made an informed choice.

Maybe not.

The girl spent four months with her substitute family. She says the family did not speak English in the home, encouraging her to speak Arabic. Her primary foster carer veiled her face in public. When placed with a second foster family, also Muslim, the girl spoke of regularly eating meals on the floor. The girl was scheduled to return to the first foster carers, but a council worker heard her complain of having had her necklace removed and not returned. The necklace featured a cross-shaped pendant. The girl claimed the family had refused to let her eat carbonara prepared by her family because it contained bacon.

The girl is now back with her family, living with her grandmother on the orders of Judge Khatan Sapnara – the Mail tells readers on its front page, the judge is a Muslim; a fact the Times repeats on page 6 in a lengthy profile on the woman who arrived in the UK as child from her native Bangladesh. Judge Sapnara told the council to seek “culturally matched placements” for children. She also made a stand for free speech. Tower Hamlets tried to block the Times story but failed when Judge Sapnara made it clear she “would not stand in the way of the freedom of the  press to report, within the law and in a responsible manner, in respect of this case.”

The Mail adds that the girl’s family had “pleaded” with the council to let her live with her grandmother. The girl “begged” not to be returned to the Muslim family. By page 17, Sarah Vine is telling readers about the value of “a granny’s love”. But taken in isolation, without us knowing why the child was in care at all, why grandma was overlooked in favour of foster parents and what the foster parents hope to gain from their role, opinion rides roughshod over fact. But Vine tells us that Tower Hamlets advertises foster carer allowances of “£313 and £253 a week”. “That’s a nice little earner,” says Vine.

Easy money? On the Tower Hamlets website we read:

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer you will need to meet with a social worker many times to talk about yourself, your family and your experiences of looking after children. Some people find the idea of this daunting, but our social workers are highly experienced and will do everything they can to help you feel reassured during this process. You will also need to have police and medical checks and will need to ask employers, friends and families to give references.

And Vine’s undersold the job: “Fostering fees and allowances up to £474 per week (per child in placement depending on age).” But, yes, the payments for a five-year-old are as she says. Fostering is a cottage industry. Why the public sector is turning child care into a job creation opportunity is not touched upon. And it costs:

In the 2013/14 financial year an estimated £2.5 billion (gross expenditure) was spent on the main looked after children’s services in England. The majority of expenditure (55%) was on foster care services (around £1.4 billion, 55%) and children’s homes (around £0.9 billion, 36%).

So much for the money.

What’s wrong is when Vine says the “real scandal” is that social services “would rather pay someone, irrespective of whether or not  he child will be miserable, than find a home where someone wants  to offer the one thing that has no price: a mother’s love.”

Eh? Surely is can be argued that the “strict Muslim” women was offering  just that: a place where the child would be treated like one of their own. Moreover, where is the child’s mother? Is she able or capable of offering the kid of love Vine seeks? Let’s not pretend a mother’s love is the ultimate nurturer of life and love.

Also troubling is that the story is presented as one of child abuse. The child was refused food. The child  was with “strict” adults. The child was upset. The child “sobbed”. Everything is presented to make readers suspicious of adults. The child’s view is pure and passes challenged. We’ve not heard from the Muslim women at the centre of the story. The overriding impression from reading this story is that when society revolves around child protection, everyone who works with children is cast as a suspect.

Posted: 30th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

100 MPs could be killed in 5 minutes

Big news is that a mock terror attack on the Houses of Parliament shows that it “could” take just 5 minutes to kill 100 MPs. In the “middle of the night” police pretending to be terrorists pulled up by the Commons, climbed the steep wall to the terrace and then gained access to the debating chamber. The Sunday Telegraph says that had the house been sitting “more than 100 MPs” would have been massacred.

An unnamed source described the MPs as “sitting ducks”. Another adds: “I remember thinking ‘Jesus Christ, if that’s where we are at and that can happen, then the public would be horrified’.” (Discuss.)

Is such an attack likely? The water around Westminster can be sea-like, choppy and tidal. It’s very tricky to pull up. The east front of the Palace of Westminster – the bit on the river – measures approximately 265m, and is the longest façade of any building in London. So plenty to room. But navigating the building can be tricky. Take a left turn instead of a right one and a seasick jihadi could end up in House of Lords Chamber!

Posted: 29th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Madeleine McCann: the GCSEs, the Catholic academy and a vicar

The summer’s been light on Madeleine McCann news. What with there being no news to report (there’s not been any every since she vanished – Ed) and August being renamed ‘Diana’, the media’s largely ignored ‘Our Maddie’. But now the news arrives that the school Madeleine McCann would have attended to study for her GCSEs has kept her place open.

Madeleine would /could have been a pupil at Catholic academy De Lisle College in Loughborough, Leicestershire. And if she wasn’t missing she’d be with other 14-year-old girls getting ready to begin her GCSEs.

This we know because the Rev. Rob Gladstone, the family’s “local vicar” (not a Catholic), has told the Sun: “She would be going into Year 10 and they welcome her return. There is no evidence Madeleine has died. We encourage Kate and Gerry in faith, hope, strength, perseverance and courage.”

Lest we find this story less than illuminating, a “friend of the McCann family” adds: “It is both touching and fitting that the ‘big’ school where she would have gone holds a desk for her.”

In other news: Madeleine McCann is missing. There are no suspects.

Posted: 26th, August 2017 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Carling reduced alcohol content but didn’t tell its customers

Anyone who drinks Carling pretty much get what they deserve. The revolting, fizzy pisswater Anwar Sedat and other urophagiasts (people who drink their own urine; as opposed to perverts (people who drink everyone else’s and flavoured cider)) would eschew as too weak is even worse than it appears. We hear the allegation that Molson Coors, the company that makes the stuff, has realised Carling drinkers are fools. The Mail reports:

Carling is marketed in Britain at 4 per cent alcohol strength, but brewers Molson Coors have admitted it is weaker for tax reasons. Court documents reveal the lager has been made to a strength of about 3.7 per cent for the past five years.

But Molson Coors did not change the strength recorded on Carling labels to prevent drinkers from ‘demanding a slice’ of the saving, tribunal documents said. The brewer insists customers have not been misled and its labelling was ‘entirely consistent with the law’.

The details emerged in a tax tribunal brought against the beer makers by HMRC over an alleged unpaid multi-million-pound duty bill.


Star Light bitter


We’ve been here before, of course. In the 1970s, Watney’s introduced Star Light – “this beer was so weak in strength that a 1971 Sunday Mirror investigation discovered that it could have been legally sold in the United States during Prohibition.”

Star Light had an alcohol content of about 1.4%.

Carling said: “Due to their natural ingredients, all beers are permitted to have a slight variation between the finished product and the alcohol content stated on the label. For most beers, the allowed variation is 0.5 per cent.”

Lucky, then, that the change was down not up. Drink drivers take note. “The beer was lying to me, occifer.”

Spotter: The Grocer

Posted: 26th, August 2017 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Hani Khalaf: Hyde Park killer and the problem with immigrants

In today’s Daily Express, it’s another game of join the dots, of which there are just two. Page 5 tells readers of an “illegal immigrant” called Hani Khalaf. He’s been handed a 26-year prison sentence for murdering Jairo Medina, beating the man to death in London’s Hyde Park.

Khalaf, an Egyptian national, arrived in the UK in the back of lorry back in 2014, posing as a Syrian asylum seeker.

Judge Wendy Joseph QC tells the court:

“It is clear that Hani Khalaf, having absconded, came to the attention of authorities on at least six occasions. On each, he was re-bailed because they could not make arrangements for securing his deportation in a reasonable amount of time.”

The news is part of a page given over to immigration stories.


Immigration Special.


The phone poll on the same page asks: “Is Britain still letting in too many migrants?”



The story of how Hani Khalaf was free to murder is troubling. Why was a man in the country illegally not dealt with by the authorities? Joseph makes the valid point that Khalaf had no way of “lawfully maintaining himself”. How can man in the country illegally keep the rules?

So much for the Express. But how do the other paper report on the story?

The Daily Telegraph leads with the killer’s legal status:

Illegal immigrant murdered man in Hyde Park after Home Office repeatedly failed to deport him

It tells readers that the victim, a carer by profession, was born in Colombia. He was a Colombian national. The Express omits that fact. The Express also doesn’t say that Mr Medina, a migrant, has, according to his sister, won an award in 2015 for his “service to care in London”.

The paper adds:

The day before he [Khalaf] met Mr Medina, he was arrested for shoplifting in Regent Street and gave police the false name he had previously given to immigration officials.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was bailed hours before the killing.

On August 11, Khalaf met Mr Medina in Hyde Park, where the victim had gone hoping to have sex with a younger man, the court heard.

Khalaf murdered and robbed Mr Medina. The judge ruled that it was a “murder for gain”.

Over in the London Evening Standard, the killer’s status is is once more the leading fact:

Illegal immigrant jailed for beating carer Jairo Medina to death in London’s Hyde Park

It was only good police work that saw Khalaf arrested:

Khalaf was arrested on August 16 for fare evasion and told police he was Hanni Hassan and later gave the name Khalaf, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC said.

Then on August 18, he was arrested again for shoplifting and taken to Charing Cross police station, where an “eagle-eyed” police officer recognised him from CCTV as the suspect seen with Mr Medina on the night of his death.

The BBC delivers the headline:

“Illegal immigrant jailed for Hyde Park murder”

And in the Guardian? Well, this is the headline:



It’s story begins:

A homeless man has been jailed for at least 26 years for murdering a “kind and peace-loving” carer…

To the Guardian, it is not Khalaf’s illegality that matters most. “Homeless man jailed for Hyde Park murder,” says the headline. Its report carries not a single mention of the words “migrant”, “illegal immigrant” or “immigrant”.

The Express and Guardian both massage the facts to fit an agenda. Neither is helpful.

Posted: 25th, August 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lotto scratchcard ‘fury’ but no mention of the Health Lottery

The Daily Star picks up the sound of “punters’ fury at Lotto card Farce”.

Those “angry punters” have branded the National Lottery a “rip -off”. The Star says “nearly a quarter” and “most of the top prizes” on Lotto’s 42 scratch card games currently on sale offer prizes that have already been won. “What a waste of money,” says one unnamed gambler, without irony.


daily_star health lottery


We do hear from Camelot, which operates the cards. “There are only two scratchcard  on sale that have no top prizes remaining. No new packs of these scratchcards can be put on sale.”

That seems fair.


daily_star health lottery


What seems a little less fair is that the Daily Star does not mention that its owner (Richard Demond) is chairman of Northern & Shell, parent company of the Health Lottery, a Lotto rival which sells virtual scratchcards for online games. How it deals with scratchcards after the top prizes have been claimed is not mentioned.

We called the Health Lottery to ask them. Calls to The Health Lottery Helpline are charged at 7p per minute plus your telephone provider’s access charge. It took 59 seconds for us to be able to press ‘4’ to speak with an advisor.

We were directed to the Ts and Cs. They tells us:

The result of each Instant Lottery Game shall be pre-determined at the time of purchase and shall not include any element of skill. The Health Lottery Computer System will determine prizes based on the probabilities and not from a limited pool of prizes…

The chances of winning a Prize will be exactly the same at the point of purchase and shall not be affected by previous wins in the same Game or other Prizes previously paid in other Instant Lottery Games . The advertised prize structure shall remain in place at all times, with each prize tier always available for a win as the Instant Lottery Games do not use a limited pool.

It’s different system to the Lotto, then. Whether or not it’s any fairer is moot. Both systems are after all, odds-based punts.


Posted: 25th, August 2017 | In: Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Daily Diana: a car crash marriage proposal, reincarnation and Peter Kay’s shepherd’s pit

Princess Diana dead


It’s the Daily Diana, and the Sun leads with Sun readers remembering the day Princess Diana died 20 years ago. The story is headlined “Diana AND ME”. Because it’s all about ME.

Reader Louise Voss says, “I went into labour with my daughter as she died.” Louise “worked out” that just as the car carrying Diana slammed into a tunnel wall in Paris, she had her first contraction, and daughter Gracie began her journey down her own sort of tunnel. Spooky! ”

“Gracie was born the next day, and we always told her she was the reincarnation of Diana,” says Louise. Although Diana wasn’t dead yet, and only soap actors get to be the reincarnation of someone still alive. It detracts little from the drama to note that Louise never met Diana – well, not in her previous lifetime.

As the paparazzi and land mine charities dash over to see Gracie, we meet others, like Jo who says of her late sister: “That night marked Diana’s death – and the beginning of my sister’s decline.”

Tess agreed to marry her boyfriend the day before news of Diana’s death broke. She says the day was a “true rollercoaster”.

Marianne Berry, a nurse who like Jo and Tess never met Diana, offers context. A newsflash appeared on the telly: “We thought it was the announcement of World War Three. Then the newsreader says Dodi had died, and Diana was on her way to hospital. Another nurse came over and joined us and we watched the horror unfold.”

Peter Kay dodges the bombs to recall that he heard the news via a note on the fridge from his mom. It read: “Princess Diana dead. Shepherd’s pie in fridge.”

It’s what she would have wanted.


Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Down’s syndrome husband wins compensation for sex ban but not for the reason you think

A 38-year-old British man banned from having sex with his wife has won £10,000 compensation. The secret Court of Protection ordered the man to “abstain” from sex until he had passed a sex-education course run by his local council. And his wife had best watch out, too. The court told her that because her husband has Down’s Syndrome he cannot consent to sex. If she shags him, she could be committing a criminal offence.

Neither of the pair are virgins. They had been having sex for five years before the law stepped in to pull them apart, a clinical psychologist deciding that the man lacked the capacity to provide his consent. The couple, who had applied for fertility treatment, were assessed by the experts and found wanting.

Anyhow, now things are ok. The man has received a pay out. But it wasn’t for the State locking a chastity belt on he and his wife’s reproductive organs. He scored some cash because for over a year the council failed to provide the sex-education course that the court had ordered. This and not the sex ban breached the couple’s human rights.

The Court of Protection describes itself thus:

We make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’).

We are responsible for:

deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves

appointing deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity

giving people permission to make one-off decisions on behalf of someone else who lacks mental capacity

handling urgent or emergency applications where a decision must be made on behalf of someone else without delay

making decisions about a lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney and considering any objections to their registration

considering applications to make statutory wills or gifts

making decisions about when someone can be deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act

Good that a court exists to make decisions on the welfare and affairs of those who lack the capacity to do so themselves. But the man is married, and should expect the life that comes with such a commitment. To think the State knows the man better than his wife does is abhorrent. Too many horrible stories are hidden in the shadows.


Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Katharine McPhee, topless telly ‘babes’, Tiger Woods and Miley Cyrus are naked online

Have you seen the “SEX PICS” of the “TWO TO TV STARS”. The saucy photos “LEAKED ONLINE” are front-page news on the Daily Star. Nasty stuff, indeed, to have your private moments stolen and shared with the world. The two celebs, two of the country’s “biggest stars”, have called in the lawyers.


daily star sex


The Star is appalled. And anyone looking for the “explicits naked snaps” of the “2 telly babes” – the “extremely intimate shots” – of the “beauties”on an “X-rated” website should be ashamed of themselves. Says a spokesperson for one of the women:” “The selfies were taken from social media accounts but the topless images claiming to be of her are fake.”

So there are no sex pics. The images weren’t leaked, rather shared and photoshopped. Aside from that the Star’s lead story is, er, correct.

Meanwhile, in other celebrity naked news, Katharine McPhee is “fighting back”.

The actress and singer, 33, filed suit in Los Angeles County Tuesday in response to intimate photos of her being published on pornographic websites after her phone got hacked.

Miley Cyrus is naked in public – again:

Intimate pictures allegedly showing Miley Cyrus and Stella Maxwell together, Kristen Stewart apparently topless and former couple Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn apparently naked have surfaced online.

Vonn and Woods are considering legal action.

The odd things about all this is that while the newspapers report on the story of leaked sex photos, anyone who cares is online looking for the images. If there’s any one story that shows how out-of-step the dead-tree Press is, it’s when dirty photos get leaked online.

Posted: 24th, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Shropshire Hospital rejects donations from fund-raising transvestites

Many men like dressing up as women: sailors, rugby players, the headmistress at St Trinian’s school, East German athletes and Glamour magazine’s woman of the year. So too men on a fundraising drive for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust. The lads dressed up as female nurses and shook their tins in the streets of Ludlow, Shropshire. People dug deep in their pockets and donated a none-too-shabby £2,500.

But the money is no good. It’s dirty. The hospital has rejected the cash, saying the way  it was earned was “highly-sexualised” and “demeaning”.

The Trust’s letter to the Ludlow Hospital League of Friends, which raised the cash, opines: “The presentation of men dressed as female nurses in a highly-sexualised and demeaning way is wrong, very outdated and insulting to the profession.”

Indeed. If nurses are to be demeaned by anyone it will be by pen pushers, male doctors and MPs, which is far more modern and progressive.

Posted: 23rd, August 2017 | In: Money, News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Reclaim the Internet and protecting the dead from online abuse

Twitter can be nasty place, full of angry prudes, prigs, bigots and berks. And then you’ve got the nastier types. The Fawcett Society says Twitter is “failing women” threatened online. The Fawcett Society is, as it says it is, the “UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights”. Created in 1866 to campaign for women’s suffrage – from championing equality the group now wants special rules to protect women (facepalm) –  the charity is now looking at free speech and law in partnership with a group called Reclaim the Internet. Which is? Well, it’s mission statement begins: “The internet must be a forum for freedom of speech. But…”

If there’s a ‘but’ there’s no free speech, is there. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who set up the organisation that seeks to control what can and cannot be said, might not be able to see the irony of her position, but anyone who values free speech should.

free speech fawcett

This comes after last week’s news that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has vowed to “treat online crime as seriously as offline offences”. The CPS will “prosecute complaints of hate crime online with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”.

The Telegraph has more:

The two groups identified 14 cases of threats and abuse against women including the MPs Luciana Berger, Diane Abbott and the late Jo Cox, as well as the campaigner Gina Miller, and reported them to Twitter earlier this month.

Tweets reported by the two groups also included threats of rape as well as images and video of apparently non-consensual sexual acts alongside abusive comments aimed at groups of women including migrants and Muslims.

On Monday night five of the 14 accounts remained active with the tweets in question still on the site, while Twitter had taken up to nine days to suspend the other accounts reported to it…

The offending tweets included a vile slur on the late MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a constituent in 2016, and racist and misogynistic abuse directed at the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott. Other tweets included a description of raping migrants as “ethnic cleansing”.

Can you sue someone for saying something nasty about a dead person? Seems pretty incredible. Especially given that the prop is that online threats carry the same weight as threats carried out in the real world, where real sticks and stones can break your bones.

It all creates more questions. What’s abusive? Who gets to decide when words are illegal? Is it up to the police and then the CPS to decide? The law is sure to be very busy looking into every tweet someone found beyond the pale and reported? Are there enough resources? And do you want to live in a nation of narks getting off on setting the full weight of law on a fool who made a moronic, challenging or rude comment online?

Might be best to debate all this and more face to face, say in the pub, where notes are not taken and used in evidence against you. Problem is that since our protectors brought in the smoking ban and pubs started to become gastro-led family creches or flats, that option’s not all that attractive. Pub’s are out. Graffiti’s illegal and any conversation could take years. And no-one reads the papers, so letters to the editor are useless. So shouting at pigeons in the precinct it is, then. How’s that for progress?

Posted: 22nd, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

If George Clooney looks ‘frazzled’ you should see his nanny

Clooney looks “ace” in the Daily Mirror. The paper has a paparazzi shot of George Clooney and Amal Clooney at a tennis match lose to their home in Italy. Neither is holding a racket, but they are holding hands. They look like a well-groomed couple minding their own business.



But over in the Mail, Clooney is “frazzled”. He’s a new dad “after two months of sleepless nights”. No, not or the couple’s umpteen nannies, for George. To prove its point (surely to spin a story from a papped photo? – Ed) the Mail shows us Clooney looking “fresh-face and beaming” in April.



PS: on the day the the Mail leads once more with news of Princess Diana 20 years after her death, odd indeed it should feature a half-page paparazzi photos of the Clooneys. After all, it was in the wake of Diana’s death that the Mail made this pledge:

8 September 1997, eight days after the death of Princess Diana:

“Mail leads the way in banning paparazzi pictures. 

“The proprietor of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard announced last night that his papers will not in future purchase pictures taken by paparazzi

“Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc said: ‘I am, and always have been, an admirer of Diana, Princess of Wales, and nagged my editors to protect her so far as they could against her powerful enemies.

“In view of Earl Spencer’s strong words and my own sense of outrage, I have instructed my editors no ‘paparazzi’ pictures are to be purchased without my knowledge and consent.'”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Daily Diana: everyone hates Prince Charles and Dodi was a mug

princess diana dead 20 years


It’s Diana-mania all over again in the tabloids as papers mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

The Mirror leads with a Diana pullout, four pages of revision featuring the wedding day kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony (awwww!); Diana getting Charles’s name wrong at the altar (d’oh!); Charles mentally repeating “Must not call her Camilla” over and over (cheating, lying bastard!); and how the couple, as Marje Proops told us on July 30 1981, “could have been quite alone. It was look of love and longing” – her love for him and his longing to be Camilla’s tampon.

Too harsh on Charles, the poor lamb? Nah. The Press are all diving on the swine. The Express, with the vanishing of Madeleine McCann deemed a story no longer to be of much interest, leads with the pre-Maddy blonde Diana and news that she “saved” the Royal Family. This follows news that, when polled, most time-rich Britons who respond to YouGov polls think Charles is unfit to be King.


Princess Diana daily mail


The Mail begins its Daily Diana by looking at a poll. This one says only a third of Britons think Charles is worth his salt and 14% think Camilla should be Queen (yeah, that many). How many think Diana was murdered is not investigated, but it might be more than the number who think Charles should put his hair in a bun and his **** in a toaster.

Over on the Sun’s cover, big news is that Diana was not in love with Dodi Fayed. This we know because Michael Gibbins, her private secretary, believes she was simply “having a lovely summer at somebody else’s expense”. Diana was freeloader? A tart? “When the summer was over, everything would have disintegrated,” says Gibbons. He then adds: “If she’d lived she would have been looking for other things – and rushing into my office saying why hadn’t I found them for her?” Although her husband Dodi might have been with her, carrying their child, little Michael Paul Burrell-Gibbins and his twin sister Fergie.

In tomorrow’s papers: why Diana loved the paparazzi.

Posted: 21st, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Why did William and Harry walk behind Diana’s coffin?

funeral diana


To mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, we’re seen lots of photos of the funeral procession. In today’s Mail, we see the family shot of the young princes, William and Harry, their father Prince Charles, Diana’s brother Earl Spencer and the Duke of Edinburgh. The story of why the princes were walking behind their mother’s coffin seems confused.

The Mail on Sunday says:  “The decision for the boys to  join the cortege was not made until an eve-of-funeral family supper when their grandfather, Prince Philip, promised them: ‘If you walk, I’ll walk.”

We know this was an act of selflessness by the caring Duke because on the ITV documentary Diana: The Day Britain Cried, The Queen’s senior aide Sir Malcolm Ross, opined:

“And I understand that it was at a family supper on the Friday night in Buckingham Palace that the decision was made and Prince Philip, after some discussion, said to the boys, ‘I’ll walk if you walk’.”

But talking to Newsweek magazine, Prince Harry tells us:

“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television. I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

And there’s Earl Spencer, who told the BBC is was a “very bizarre and cruel thing” for Diana’s two sons to be told to walk behind her body. He says the Palace “lied” to him, telling them the boys had wanted to walk behind the coffin, which, he says, they did not want to do.



Not that anything about Diana is new. We’ve heard it all before, sort of.

In 2015, Hello magazine reported:

When the late Princess Diana died in 1997 her sons William and Harry did not want to walk behind the coffin, but Philip thought they would regret it later and told them: “If you like, I’ll walk with you.”

In 2007, the Daily Express told its readers:

Vanity Fair also prints excerpts of The Diana Chronicles, by former magazine editor Tina Brown, which reveal how the Princess and the Duke of Edinburgh clashed before her divorce from Prince Charles.

Philip is claimed to have threatened to remove her HRH title if she failed to behave properly.

But the Princess is said to have responded by informing the Duke that her title as Lady, referring to the lineage of the Spencer family, was a lot older than his. Ms Brown also claims Philip cajoled Princes William and Harry to walk with him behind Diana’s coffin at her funeral, overruling objections from her brother Earl Spencer.

In his Diaries, Tony Blair’s spin doctor, Alistair Campbell, noted:

William believed the plan was designed to appeal to the media. Campbell writes: “William was refusing to speak to anyone and he was consumed by a total hatred of the media … I sensed the boys were holding firm, and they seemed to feel it was being done for the media and the public, not for their mother.”

The Mirror reported in 2011: “William and Harry walked behind Diana’s coffin to prevent a mob attacking Prince Charles.”

Such are the facts.

At least no-one is still harping on about her having been murdered. Which she wasn’t. Right?


Posted: 20th, August 2017 | In: News, Royal Family | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

America’s anti-free speech rally is wholly stupid

To Boston, then, where thousands of well-meaning fools are marching to shut down free speech.

Thousands of counter-protesters crammed Boston Common and marched through city streets on Saturday morning in efforts to drown out the planned “free speech” rally.

The aim was to precent white supremacists from talking.

Blessedly, some people understand how things work:


free speech


Free speech for Nazis is free speech for anti-Nazis. You cannot have one without the other.

Spotter: Washington Post


Posted: 20th, August 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0